Showing posts with label Sports. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Sports. Show all posts

Wednesday, 21 February 2018

Peace was set to meet with North Korean officials during Olympics before last minute cancellation

Peace was set to meet with North Korean officials during Olympics before last minute cancellation

Vice President Mike Pence departed for a five-day, two-country swing through Asia earlier this month having agreed to a secret meeting with North Korean officials while in South Korea at the 2018 Winter Olympics.
But on Feb. 10, less than two hours before Pence and his team were set to meet with Kim Yo Jong, the younger sister of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, and with Kim Yong Nam, the regime's nominal head of state, the North Koreans pulled out of the scheduled meeting, according to Pence's office.
US Vice president Mike Pence, Kim Yo Jong, kim Jong Un, Kim Jong Nam
The North Koreans' decision to withdraw from the meeting came after Pence had used his trip to denounce their nuclear ambitions and announce the "toughest and most aggressive" sanctions against the regime yet, while also taking steps to further solidify the U.S. alliance with both Japan and South Korea.
It also came as Kim Jong Un, through his sister, invited South Korean President Moon Jae-in to Pyongyang to begin talks "soon" — a development that would likely cause consternation in Washington, where the Trump administration has been leading a campaign to put "maximum pressure" on the Kim regime to give up its nuclear program. Moon said through a spokesman that he would try to make it happen.
Pence's actions and rhetoric in the lead-up to the Olympics contrasted with the image of progress being promoted by the South Koreans, who would also have been eager to involve the United States in direct talks with the North.
The vice president's office promoted his trip as an effort to combat what it said was North Korea's plan to use the Winter Games for propaganda purposes and portrayed the cancellation of the meeting as evidence that his mission was a success.


"North Korea dangled a meeting in hopes of the vice president softening his message, which would have ceded the world stage for their propaganda during the Olympics," said Nick Ayers, the vice president's chief of staff, while also pointing to the specific events Pence held to highlight human rights abuses by Pyongyang. "North Korea would have strongly preferred the vice president not use the world stage to call attention to those absolute facts or to display our strong alliance with those committed to the maximum pressure campaign. But as we've said from Day One about the trip: this administration will stand in the way of Kim's desire to whitewash their murderous regime with nice photo ops at the Olympics."
The vice president's office said the North Koreans expressed their dissatisfaction with Pence's announcement of new sanctions as well as his meeting with North Korean defectors when canceling the meeting.
The meeting — which Pence had coyly teased en route to Asia, saying, "We'll see what happens" — was two weeks in the making, and started when the Central Intelligence Agency first got word that the North Koreans wanted to meet with Pence when he was on the Korean Peninsula, according to a senior White House official. A second official said the initiative for the meeting came from South Korea, which acted as an intermediary between the two sides to set up the meeting.
South Korean officials did not immediately respond to a request for comment on Tuesday.
Though Pence had agreed to the North Korean invitation before he departed for Asia on Feb. 5, no details were set until the vice president arrived in Seoul on Feb. 8, according to the White House official.
The two sides agreed to meet at South Korea's Blue House on Feb. 10, the official said. No South Korean officials were scheduled to attend, but the Blue House was to serve as a neutral meeting place, which could also accommodate the security demands of both sides.
Pence, a representative from the National Security Council, a representative from the intelligence community and Ayers were planning to attend from the U.S. side. The North Korean side was expected to include Kim Yo Jong and Kim Yong Nam, as well as a possible third official.
Within the White House, discussions of the possible meeting were kept to a small group of senior administration officials and the plan was finalized the week before the vice president left during an Oval Office meeting with President Trump, Pence, national security advisor H.R. McMaster, White House Chief of Staff John Kelly and Ayers. CIA Director Mike Pompeo called in by phone, and Defense Secretary Jim Mattis and Secretary of State Rex Tillerson were also part of the ongoing discussions.


The president and vice president were in agreement on the goal of the meeting: Pence would privately meet with the North Koreans not to open any negotiations with Kim's regime, but to deliver the administration's tough stance against North Korea face-to-face, two White House officials said.
The administration also took it as a sign of the North Korean's seriousness that Kim sent his younger sister to South Korea, making her the first member of the Kim family to visit the South since the Korean War.
"The president's view was that they need to understand that what our policy is publicly and what we are saying publicly is actually what we mean," a senior White House official said, explaining Trump's decision to greenlight the possibility of a Pence meeting with the North Koreans.
White House officials said Trump and Pence had viewed the meeting as a continuation of the administration's maximum pressure campaign against North Korea, as well as in line with the message Pence had delivered, publicly and privately, for the whole trip. The talks between Pence and the North Koreans, had they happened, were not intended to serve as any sort of de-escalation of the administration's stance against North Korea, a senior White House official said.
Since becoming president, Trump has taunted Kim Jong Un with grade-school boasts about who has a more powerful nuclear button, dubbed him "Rocket Man" and promised that North Korea's provocations would be met with "fire and fury and frankly power, the likes of which this world has never seen before."
Pence used his trip to the region to further underscore the administration's combative stance.
At the Olympic opening ceremony, Pence sat in South Korean President Moon Jae-in's VIP box along with Moon and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe — with Kim Yo Jong and Kim Yong Nam sitting almost directly behind him. Pence studiously ignored the North Koreans all evening and photos of the uncomfortable tableau prompted public headlines and private speculation about who, exactly, had won the propaganda war.
On Feb. 9, before heading to the Olympics, Pence visited the Cheonan Memorial, a tribute to 46 South Korean sailors who were killed in 2010 by a North Korean torpedo, and he met with four North Korean defectors, urging them to share their stories before the assembled media. He also invited Fred Warmbier — father of Otto Warmbier, the American student who died last year after North Korea detained him for 17 months for stealing a propaganda poster, then sent him home in a coma — to attend the opening ceremony as his guest.
It was all part of Pence's effort to cast himself as a warrior against North Korea's propaganda.
Pence seemed to make a point of ignoring the North Koreans at the opening ceremony, both at a VIP reception and in Moon's VIP box. The vice president also only stood to cheer for the U.S. athletes when they marched out, staying seated when the North and South entered the Olympic Stadium together under a united Korean flag.

The North's state-run Korean Central News Agency unleashed a torrent of vitriol against the vice president on Feb. 10. "Pence must know that his frantic acts of abusing the sacred Olympics for confrontational ruckus are as foolish and stupid an act as sweeping the sea with a broom," the agency said in a report.
"If Pence wants to avoid experiencing a hot agony of shame on the stage of the Olympics, he had better stop behaving imprudently and clearly learn about how ardently the compatriots of the north and the south of Korea wish to reunify the country … and quietly disappear," the report continued.
Pence's stony demeanor and ramrod straight posture at the opening ceremony earned snarky reviews in the Korean media, with some grousing that he had snubbed the North Koreans and even disrespected the Olympic Games.
The vice president's team saw it differently.
Communications Director Jarrod Agen tweeted a laudatory review of Pence's evening: "VP stands and cheers for U.S. athletes. VP hangs out with U.S. athletes instead of dining with Kim regime. VP does not applaud N. Korea or exchange pleasantries w/ the most oppressive regime on earth."
Another member of Pence's staff explained the vice president's public behavior with: "I don't think you talk geopolitics over speed skating."
In fact, at that very moment, Pence was still planning to talk geopolitics with the North Koreans the next day, reiterating his week-long public message in private with Kim Yo Jong and Kim Yong Nam.
On the morning of Feb. 10, the North Koreans sent word to Pence's team that the meeting was still on — but they didn't like his rhetoric, a senior administration said.
Then, just hours later, the North Koreans changed their minds, abruptly backing out of their offering of a meeting.
Pence then watched speed skating with his wife before boarding Air Force Two to return home.

Friday, 8 December 2017

Svetlana Kuznetsova withdrawaled from Australian Open due to her left side wrist surgery

Svetlana Kuznetsova withdrawaled from Australian Open due to her left side wrist surgery


Two-times significant winner Svetlana Kuznetsova has pulled back from one month from now's Australian Open in the wake of having surgery to her left side wrist.

Tennis Australia on Friday said No. 12-positioned Kuznetsova and China's Sasai Zheng, with correct knee damage, were the main players positioned in the best 100 who are affirmed as not playing the Jan. 15-28 competition at Melbourne Park.

Serena Williams, who was pregnant while winning the 2017 Australian Open title and brought forth her first tyke in September, ''is foreseen to return,'' Tennis Australia said.

Williams could level with Margaret Court's record-breaking record of 24 Grand Slam singles titles with another win at Melbourne Park. Serena Williams' positioning has dropped to No. 22 amid her break from the visit.

Thursday, 7 December 2017

Jones made a fantastic game saving, as Falcons won Saints 20-17

Jones made a fantastic game saving, as Falcons won Saints 20-17


With the season possibly remaining in a critical state, Deion Jones jumped high noticeable all around, about as high as he could go.

He came to significantly higher, grabbing the ball away before it could achieve the proposed target.

Hanging on for dear existence with the two arms, the Atlanta Falcons linebacker landed level on his back at last zone, the ball secured firmly against his chest.

No chance he was giving up.

Jones made a jumping capture attempt at last zone with 1:25 remaining and the Falcons hung on for a urgent 20-17 triumph over the New Orleans Saints on Thursday night, setting up a three-route race for the NFC South title.

"It was about the ball," Jones said. "I simply opened up my eyes, and every one of my siblings were in that spot, remaining over me. It was incredible."

Matt Ryan shook off three capture attempts to control the Falcons to Matt Bryant's 52-yard field objective with 3:49 to go. The Saints (9-4) were in position to haul out the triumph, heading to the Atlanta 11 after Drew Brees changed over on fourth-and-1 with a quarterback sneak, as mentor Sean Payton passed on endeavoring a tying field objective.

On second down, Brees endeavored to hit tight end Josh Hill in the back of the end zone.

Jones had different thoughts.

"When it requires a long time to arrive, you know you're up there," Falcons mentor Dan Quinn said. "He unquestionably went up and went after it."

The Falcons (8-5) moved inside one round of the division-driving Saints with three weeks to go, as New Orleans misused an opportunity to manufacture a three-amusement lead on the safeguarding division champs. Atlanta is back in the race and gets another split at New Orleans when the groups meet again in the beside a week ago of the customary season at the Superdome.

The Carolina Panthers (8-4) likewise are right in the thick of things.

Ryan had three interferences in an extend of nine plays toward the finish of the primary half and the start of the second. Yet, he tied the amusement with a 8-yard touchdown go to Mohamed Sanu with 9:55 residual , completing 15 of 27 for 221 yards.

Brees was 26 of 35 for 271 yards and two TDs. However he was kicking himself for attempting to drive one toward the end.

On the opening ownership, New Orleans lost portion of its dynamic 1-2 punch in the backfield when new kid on the block Alvin Kamara made a go to the cap and stumbled off with a blackout.

Check Ingram was left to convey the heap as the "Blast and Zoom" team turned out to be essentially "Blast." He was held to 49 yards on 12 conveys as the Saints to a great extent surrendered one of the alliance's best hurrying assaults. Michael Thomas had 10 gets for 117 yards and a TD .

With Atlanta endeavoring to crash into position for a tiebreaking field objective in the melting away seconds of the opening half, Ryan threw a frightful pass that was picked off by new kid on the block Marshon Lattimore, who was back in the lineup in the wake of missing two amusements with a lower leg damage.

Lattimore returned it 33 yards to the Atlanta 29 with 4 seconds remaining, setting up Wil Lutz to boot a 47-yard field objective as time terminated. Yet, the Falcons got a break when the Saints neglected to have seven obstructed on hold of scrimmage, and the punishment brought about a compulsory 10-second spillover that finished the half with the score tied at 10.

MATTY PICK

Subsequent to getting picked off on Atlanta's last play of the main half, Ryan went to the air again on the principal play of the second half.

Same outcome, however it wasn't Ryan's blame.

The ball experienced the arms of tight end Austin Hooper, moved up on his back and was caught by Chris Banjo, setting up the 1-yard scoring go to Thomas.

On Atlanta's next ownership, Ryan guided the Falcons to the New Orleans 9. On third down, he endeavored to drive a go into the end zone for Julio Jones just to be picked off again by Marcus Williams.

It was the second time this season and ninth time in his vocation that Ryan has tossed three interferences in a diversion.

Damage REPORT

It was a merciless night for the Saints, which is certain to bring up more issues after the wellbeing dangers of playing on Thursday evenings.

Notwithstanding Kamara's damage, New Orleans lost another hostile protect and three starters on resistance.

Monitor Senio Kelemete, filling in for harmed starter Andrus Peat (crotch), left with a blackout. That constrained the Saints to run with Josh LeRibeus, the reinforcement focus.

On safeguard, the Saints lost linebacker A.J. Klein in the principal half with crotch damage. Beginning guarded end Trey Hendrickson left with a lower leg damage and solid security Kenny Vaccaro was sidelined with crotch damage.

"Various folks go down," mentor Sean Payton said. "That wound up noticeably difficult."

UP NEXT

Holy people: Host the New York Jets (5-7) on Dec. 17 in the first of two straight home amusements.

Hawks: After a short turnaround for the Thursday night diversion, Atlanta has a 11-sunrise before coming back to activity with a Monday night challenge at Tampa Bay (4-8) on Dec. 18.

Monday, 4 December 2017

We won't fight unless you agree on 50-50 offer, Deontay Wilder to Anthony Joshua

We won't fight unless you agree on 50-50 offer, Deontay Wilder to Anthony Joshua


Deontay Wilder is unwilling to get in the ring with Anthony Joshua unless a 50-50 offer of the tote is concurred.

WBA and IBF heavyweight champion Joshua is 20-0, all by knockout, after his prevail upon Carlos Takam in Cardiff in October.

A month ago, Wilder held his WBC crown by deck Bermane Stiverne in the first round to move to 39-0, and Joshua's promoter Eddie Hearn apparently held chats with the American's delegates about a potential meeting one year from now.

Joseph Parker, the WBO champ, is additionally in the blend for a unification session with Joshua in 2018, and the New Zealander is cheerful to make due with a 35 for every penny offer of benefits - an idea Wilder won't engage.

"I don't think they are endeavoring to make an arrangement now," Wilder told ESPN. "I think they are endeavoring to look for Parker. They got him on his motivation.

"[He is] their best need which is fine. In the event that they would prefer not to battle as of now, that it is alright.

"We're not [going to] pursue [anybody]. I'm not pursuing Joshua. On the off chance that Joshua [doesn't] need to battle, at that point that is fine. On the off chance that they need to have one battle each, and battle me next, that is fine.

"It is an extraordinary battle, it is one of the greatest battles on the planet and everybody needs it.

"It will be 50-50 or else we don't see a battle.

"In the event that they need to utilize parts, not to influence a battle to happen, at that point so be it. It isn't care for I am requesting more, I'm stating this is a 50-50 battle and that is the means by which it is. In the rematch, at that point we can discuss 60-40 parts or whatever. That is more adequate.

"The condition of boxing, the heavyweight division, we can at last say it is back, it is energizing, it's ablaze and to make it significantly more lit, and much all the more energizing will be the minute when me and Joshua remain amidst the ring.

"Every one of the eyes far and wide will watch. We will stop the world in a minute so as to see for the last time, who is the heavyweight champion of the world."
I will pull back LiAngelo from UCLA and focus on NBA draft - LaVar Ball

I will pull back LiAngelo from UCLA and focus on NBA draft - LaVar Ball


LaVar Ball said on Monday he will pull back his child LiAngelo from the school basketball program at UCLA in challenge at his suspension for shoplifting in China.

LiAngelo was one of three UCLA players captured in China not long ago and later discharged after the intercession of Chinese President Xi Jinping.

He was later suspended inconclusively by UCLA over what turned into a worldwide occurrence and prompted a war of words been LaVar and President Donald Trump.

LaVar, be that as it may, told ESPN on Monday he was pulling back his child from UCLA.

"We are investigating different alternatives with Gelo," LaVar told ESPN. "He's gone."

"I'm not kicking back and holding up.

"He wasn't rebuffed this terrible in China. We get back here and the results were significantly stiffer than China. So essentially they're in prison here."

LaVar said LiAngelo would not exchange to another school but rather would rather focus on entering the 2018 NBA draft.

LiAngelo is the more youthful sibling of Los Angeles Lakers point monitor Lonzo Ball, who joined the NBA powerhouse this year in the wake of playing one season at UCLA.

Monday, 12 June 2017

Dave Ogrean leaves a lasting legacy on USA Hockey

Dave Ogrean leaves a lasting legacy on USA Hockey

                     
The Pittsburgh Penguins dominated the Predators in Game 6 and now they'll head to Nashville with a shot to win their second consecutive Stanley Cup.

When Dave Ogrean was USA Hockey's public relations director in August of 1979, he had a meeting with legendary coach Herb Brooks in a janitor's closet that he will never forget.
It was during the gold medal game of the Sports Festival at the old Broadmoor World Arena in Colorado Springs, Colo., when Brooks climbed the ladder to the press box to summon Ogrean.

"We head into the janitor's closet, and I take out my reporter's spiral notebook, shut the door, and Herb says, 'OK, here's the roster,'" Ogrean said. "That was the first time that 1980 U.S. Olympic roster was ever written down. We announced the 26 name later that night."
Ogrean recalled the story as he worked his final week as executive director of USA Hockey. He is officially retiring Saturday after 21 years with the organization during three different tours of duty. He was PR director from 1978-80, executive director from 1993-1999 and then came back as executive director in 2005 to the present.

Under his command, the number of USA Hockey participants has more than doubled, the U.S. National Team Development Program was born, the American Development Model was instituted and the Americans have won 55 medals in international competition. One of Ogrean's strengths was his relationship with NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman.
Through it all, Ogrean has primarily had a front row seat to witness every major American hockey success for the last 37 years, starting with the 1980 Olympic triumph at Lake Placid.

"Another of my favorite memories is the horn going off in the women's Olympic gold medal game in 1998 in Nagano," Ogrean said. "With that team, we weren't following anyone's footsteps. We had a chance four or five years earlier to put together a blue print for the first time and the women came through for us."
Known as one of hockey's great storytellers, Ogrean recalls a Nagano bar room conversation in 1998 with long-time USA Hockey equipment manager and team leader Bob Webster.

With the medal-round approaching, Ogrean told Webster he didn't want any regrets about the women's first Olympic run.
"Is there any rock we haven't turned over?" Ogrean asked Webster.
Ogrean said they stared at each other for 15 seconds, and it was as if they both had the idea at the same time.

"Do you have his number?" Ogrean asked.
The "he" was Peter Haberl, the team psychologist who didn't make the trip to Nagano because the team's credentials were limited.
"The women really, really, really like and respected him, and he did a fabulous job," Ogrean said.

Ogrean knew Haberl had a brother in Tokyo, and he called Haberl and asked if he could get a week off, fly to Tokyo and have his brother bring him to Nagano. The plan was to get him day passes to get into Olympic village.
The U.S. women were never told he was coming, and when he walked into the athlete's dining room, the reception was everything Ogrean hoped it would be.

"It's impossible to calculate, what impact, if any, that he had," Ogrean said. "But it was the only thing we hadn't done and I didn't want to leave that stone unturned."
It's hard for Ogrean to pinpoint what he is most proud of during his time with USA Hockey, but he thinks it might be the NTDP.  That's USA Hockey's program that brings together elite U.S. players to form an under-18 and under-17 national team for special training and competition. Many top NHL draft picks have come out of the program, including Patrick Kane, Auston Matthews and Jack Eichel among others.

"Nothing is ever just one person's doing," Ogrean said. "But that program has had a revolutionary impact on how organization is perceived. It's a major contributor to a radically enhanced relationship with the National Hockey League. There's a complete new level of respect for American hockey domestically and internationally."
Ogrean's final year in his job has included some difficult times. USA Hockey was involved in an ugly, contentious contract negotiation with members of the U.S. women's national team.

"I wish we would have never had the women's squabble," Ogrean said. "Times are different than they were 20 years ago. It wasn't unprecedented. Soccer went through it. I'm glad it's over, and I'm glad it was over quick enough that we could win the World Championship gold."
Ogrean also has a positive spin on the fact that the NHL isn't allowing its players to compete in the 2018 Olympic Games.

"I think having the NHL players in the Olympics makes it the best sporting event in the history of the world, and I expect the NHL will be back (in China in 2022)," Ogrean said. "I understand why they are not going in 2018, but I still see the glass as half-full. Now we are going to field a team of 23 guys who never dreamed they could be Olympians. They have grown up in an age with National Hockey League stars owning those jerseys."

Ogrean, 64, said he has never regretted his retirement plan, which has been in place since January. "No buyer's remorse at all," he said.
The reason, he said, is that he still plans to stay active as a consultant on many projects, some of them with USA Hockey.

"If I was flicking the off switch, I would be more concerned," he said. "It's not an off switch, it's a reset. Just dialing it down a bit."

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Sunday, 12 March 2017

Sports: Cricket international; England sweep woeful windies

Sports: Cricket international; England sweep woeful windies

Centuries by Alex Hales and Joe Root powered England to a crushing 186-run victory over the West Indies in the third and final one-day international in Barbados on Thursday.

Full Scorecard: West Indies v England
Replying to the tourists’ total of 328 all out off 50 overs, the home side were bundled out for just 142 off 39.2 overs, suffering their worst margin of defeat ever in a one-dayer against the English and being swept 3-0 by the same opponents for the first time since 1991.

Sidelined for almost two months by a hand injury sustained in India, Hales belted 110 on his return while Root followed up his assured match-winning 90 not out in the second game in Antigua with 101.
Their second-wicket partnership was worth 192 runs, the most for any wicket in a one-dayer at the Kensington Oval.
"This innings was really special because I wanted to get back into the thick of things," said man-of-the-match Hales.

“It was frustrating being on the sidelines and I was desperately keen to perform.”
Seeking to avoid a whitewash in the series and needing rankings points to earn automatic qualification for the 2019 World Cup, the West Indies hardly helped their cause by extending the epidemic of dropped catches that afflicted them in the first two matches in Antigua.

COSTLY MISSES

Root was missed twice early in his innings, the first lapse by Evin Lewis at midwicket off fast bowler Alzarri Joseph being the easier of the two. They proved very costly.
Joseph, the 20-year-old Antiguan pacer who replaced injured fellow fast bowler Shannon Gabriel, claimed four expensive wickets but looked the most threatening after West Indies captain Jason Holder won the toss for the third consecutive time and chose to put England in.

He accounted for the attacking Jason Roy in just the sixth over of the innings and should have had more early success but for Lewis’s costly error.

He came back for an effective second spell though and together with Holder, slowed England’s breakneck progress to what looked like being a total well in excess of 350. Holder claimed three for 41 off his ten overs.

However if there was any encouragement from the bit of resistance towards the end of the innings, it all dissipated within the first four overs of the West Indies reply with the top three again succumbing to the England seamers.

Jonathan Carter top-scored with 46 in the middle-order but the match was long over as a contest with man of the series Chris Woakes and fellow fast-medium bowler Liam Plunkett taking three wickets each.
Pacer Steve Finn also played his part in the demolition with two wickets while legspinner Adil Rashid finished off the affair in bright afternoon sunshine to the delight of thousands of celebrating England supporters.

“This is extremely frustrating, we just didn’t compete in this match,” said a disconsolate Holder in reflecting on another embarrassing setback for his team.

“I thought we committed too many errors in the field and didn’t bowl consistently well. We can only go forward from this.”
WEST INDIES KC Brathwaite, E Lewis, KOA Powell, SD Hope (wk), JN Mohammed, JL Carter, JO Holder (capt), CR Brathwaite, D Bishoo, AR Nurse, AS Joseph
ENGLAND: JJ Roy, AD Hales, JE Root, EJG Morgan (capt), JC Buttler (wk), BA Stokes, MM Ali, CR Woakes, AU Rashid, LE Plunkett, ST Finn

Monday, 20 February 2017

SPORTS: GIGGS EYE'S MORE CHALLENGING OPPORTUNITIES AS HE ENJOYS LIFE OUTSIDE COACHING

SPORTS: GIGGS EYE'S MORE CHALLENGING OPPORTUNITIES AS HE ENJOYS LIFE OUTSIDE COACHING

Manchester United great Ryan Giggs has no qualms about extending his coaching break beyond the summer unless the right challenge crops up.

After 29 seasons at Old Trafford as player and assistant manager, the 43-year-old moved onto pastures new in the summer with the hope of making his name in management.

Giggs was strongly linked with the Swansea job earlier in the season but has yet to return to coaching - not that there is much downtime given his business interests and media work.

United's most decorated player has also started work as a UEFA technical observer, with the experience of post-Old Trafford life giving the former winger balance and perspective when it comes to his next step.

"I am really open about it," Giggs told Press Association Sport when asked about the summer and beyond.

"If I was to have another year like the year I've just had, then so be it. I've enjoyed it.
"But also if jobs or opportunities arise that I think are interesting and I'll enjoy and are challenging, then definitely."

A full-time return to football certainly looks unlikely before the summer, joking his "diary is full until the end of the season".
Such focus on other interests does not mean Giggs' desire to coach has dissipated, just that the break has allowed him to enjoy things other than the cut and thrust of day-to-day football.

"When you've been in the game so long, you've left school and go straight into football, you're in that sort of bubble," Giggs explained.

"Then when you come out of it, you see a different side of it. I mean for me, for example, I am just so much more relaxed.
"I look at football in a slightly different way, I can be a little bit more sort of objective and not so biased towards United necessarily.

"I just try and give my thoughts, especially on TV, or through other stuff as well.
"I am a little bit more relaxed and obviously getting to spend time with the kids as well is great, watching my son play football every week, watching my daughter player lacrosse - stuff that I couldn't do for such a long time.

"I wanted to take a year out from the coaching but also I wanted to obviously keep busy and still do stuff and that is what I'm managing to do. It is just getting that balance, really."

Giggs, who was speaking at Fishguard Sports AFC as part of the 2017 McDonald's Community Awards launch, has certainly not been too far away from football.

A regular at Old Trafford this term, the 43-year-old's work as a TV pundit and part ownership of Salford City keeps him close to the game he loves, as does a new role with UEFA.

"I've just started a job with UEFA, working as a technical observer," Giggs said. "Last week I was at the Benfica-Dortmund game writing match reports out.

"Again, that is something different, keeping your eye in, it is also European football.
"You're getting to see European football, how other teams play and any trends that maybe are occurring.

"I am definitely keeping my eye in with the 
football, but also obviously there are my business interests as well."

Wednesday, 8 February 2017

LUCKY BARCA WILL NEED TO BE MUCH BETTER AFTER LOSING SUAREZ FOR COPA FINAL

LUCKY BARCA WILL NEED TO BE MUCH BETTER AFTER LOSING SUAREZ FOR COPA FINAL

The Uruguayan was harshly sent off in the closing stages as the Catalans edged out Atletico, but improvement is needed if they are to claim the trophy.

It was a game that had everything. Disallowed goals, red cards, a missed penalty, controversial incidents and plenty of drama. In the end, Barcelona came through it to make the Copa del Rey final for the third year running. But they barely deserved it.
Luis Enrique's side beat Atletico Madrid 2-1 in the sides' first meeting at the Vicente Calderon last Wednesday, when magical moments from Luis Suarez and Lionel Messi proved enough to win the match despite a plucky performance in which the home side impressed - especially in the second half.
And if anything, that happened again on Tuesday. After Atletico had missed chances in this match, a mesmerising run from Messi ended with a shot which Miguel Angel Moya could only push into the path of an unmarked Suarez to make it 1-0.
Atletico saw a goal ruled out in the second period when Antoine Griezmann netted but was wrongly ruled offside and, later on, Kevin Gameiro blasted over the bar after the Rojiblancos were awarded a contentious penalty following a challenge by Gerard Pique.
As throughout much of the tie, Atletico were on top. That has not always been the case this season, perhaps the most disappointing campaign during Diego Simeone's spell in charge at the club, but his side have played their best football this term versus Barca.
Atleti were a man up following the dismissal of Sergi Roberto (on his 25th birthday), but Yannick Carrasco then also saw red and Barca ended the match with nine players after Suarez was absurdly given his marching his orders as well.

"I have to laugh at the sending-off," Suarez told the television cameras after the match. "We could see it coming. The first yellow was for the first foul I made in the match and the second one wasn't even a foul."
So while Messi, Jordi Alba and Samuel Umtiti managed to avoid a yellow card which would have seen them miss the final against Alaves or Celta Vigo on May 27, both Sergi Roberto and Suarez will be suspended for the showpiece cup clash.
Aleix Vidal, who was about to come on for Sergo Roberto before the latter's dismissal, can fill in at right-back following his excellent performances in recent weeks, but losing Suarez is a big blow for Barca and Luis Enrique.
The Uruguayan scored two of the Catalans' three goals in this tie and he is a big reason why Luis Enrique's side are in the Copa del Rey final for a third season in a row.
"Barca should appeal," the Asturian coach said after the match, although he was also pessimistic about the chances of that being successful as he added: "Look what has happened in the past."

The Barca boss also complained about his team's inability to retain possession. "It's not normal to lose so many balls," he said. "We have to look at that, although I have complete confidence in my players' ability to improve."
They will have to. Because even though Barca should beat Alaves or Celta at a neutral venue yet to be decided as usual, the team will be weakened by the loss of Suarez and the probable presence of Paco Alcacer in his place.
Without their deadly striker, the Blaugrana will need to do much, much better than this.

Sunday, 5 February 2017

Afcon: Cameroon defeats Egypt 2-1

Afcon: Cameroon defeats Egypt 2-1

Well, what a tournament❗ Cameroon's inexperienced team made it to the final after being described the worst in a generation En route they beat the mighty Senegal and Ghana Egypt's story makes even better copy - 3 AFCON's in a row from 2006-10 and then failed to qualify 3 in a row And this year they qualify and made the finals no half-measures for Egypt clearly

Mohamed Elneny of Egypt scored first in the 22' with some nifty work sidefooting a rising shot that beat Ondoa at the near post. Cameroon had plenty of the ball, especially in the 2nd half, with their sub Nkoulou providing the crucial equalizer at 60' with a sublime header. But the magician of the day was Aboubakar surely - he slotted a superb goal⚽ at 88'

Cameroon won AFCON last in 2002 and it is celebration time again now after a long wait❗ Cameroon are AFCON 2017 Champions Bitter disappointment for Héctor Cúper's Egypt

Watch the 3 goals of the AFCON Final here

(Egypt) Elneny's ⚽goal https://goo.gl/aGGQfI

(Cameroon) Nkoulou's ⚽goal https://goo.gl/xvAkxu

(Cameroon) Aboubakar's ⚽goal https://goo.gl/mu8Slp

Odion Ighalo's China move is good one- Gernot Rohr

Odion Ighalo's China move is good one- Gernot Rohr

Super Eagles technical adviser, Gernot Rohr, says Odion Ighalo is still in his list.Ighalo recently left English Premier League side, Watford for Chinese CSL, side, Changchun Yatai.

The former Watford frontman who is a key member of the Nigeria Senior men’s team, joins John Obi Mikel, who left Chelsea earlier for Tiajin Teda.

But the Franco-German who is in Gabon monitoring the ongoing African Cup of Nations told Own Goal that Ighalo made the right move.

Rohr said, “He wasn’t getting games at Watford, In China he will play and be match fit aside the chance to earn more for himself and his family.

“We understand his dilemma, so he is very much in our plans.”

I have gotten more defenders- Gernot Rohr

I have gotten more defenders- Gernot Rohr

Super Eagles Technical Adviser, Gernot Rohr, has disclosed he has found new defenders for his team.

He said the defenders would help tighten up the Super Eagles defence as the team gets ready for both the 2019 Nations Cup and 2018 World Cup qualifiers.

Rohr revealed this in Gabon, where he is presently working as a television pundit at the on-going Africa Cup of Nations, AFCON.

According to him, “It is an interesting challenge to have a new team, young team and to build a team with players who really have the spirit of the country and want to play by giving their all, but don’t really bother about material things because they want to play for their country.

“We have a good captain with experience and we have found some defenders to make us stronger at the back. I think the spirit and harmony of the team is very good, but we know the important times come now.”

Alhough the Franco-German gaffer didn’t reveal the names of the players he has added to the team’s defence, he had, few weeks back, disclosed that Dutch-Nigerian full-backTyrone Ebuehi, would be available for Nigeria’s next match.

DO REAL REALLY NEED RONALDO? - MADRID'S STATS WITH AND WITHOUT CRISTIANO

DO REAL REALLY NEED RONALDO? - MADRID'S STATS WITH AND WITHOUT CRISTIANO

Another year, another birthday for the Portugal superstar, but how do Los Blancos perform when their biggest name is not on the pitch?

There is no doubting that Cristiano Ronaldo is one of the most entertaining footballers of all time. With him in the side, Real Madrid score on average half a goal more than they do without him.

On Sunday, Ronaldo celebrated his 32nd birthday after a magnificent year in which he lifted the Champions League and European Championship trophies.
The Real Madrid superstar showed no signs of slowing down as he had a fantastic 12 months in 2016, picking up another Ballon d'Or as well as being crowned the Goal 50 winner.

However, with each passing year and every birthday, the Portuguese legend is getting closer to retirement, with his time at Real Madrid shortening further.
He has been at Santiago Bernabeu since signing from Manchester United in 2009, scoring more goals than matches played for the Spanish giants with 384 goals from 373 appearances in all competitions.
But are Madrid that much worse when Ronaldo does not play? Sure, they may only score 2.4 goals a game compared to 2.9, but are they doomed once Ronaldo retires?

The stats indicate that Ronaldo's presence in their line-up actually makes little difference except for in the goals scored column. The two-time Champions League winner's goals scored column is greatly helped by the fact that he has 40 hat-tricks and ended up with two goals in 62 other games.
In fact, in La Liga, Real Madrid's win percentage is higher when Ronaldo is out of the team (76.1% with Ronaldo, 76.5% without). They score more when he plays, but average the same amount of points (2.4 points per game) in both circumstances.
When he plays, Ronaldo makes Madrid win more comfortably, but they do not need him to win. In all competitions, the win percentage sways the other way, but is similarly close - 72.9% with and 72.4% without.
Ronaldo is a great entertainer for Real Madrid, but they can cope without him. He is another year older and another year closer to retirement. But based on the stats, Real can survive without him.

Saturday, 4 February 2017

MESSI BREAKS KOEMAN'S BARCELONA FREE-KICK RECORD

MESSI BREAKS KOEMAN'S BARCELONA FREE-KICK RECORD

The former defender's club record of 26 free-kicks for the Catalans was broken in bizarre style by the Argentine against Athletic Bilbao.
Lionel Messi broke yet another Barcelona record on Saturday, becoming the most prolific free-kick goalscorer in the history of the club - surpassing Ronald Koeman's 26 strikes. Barcelona already led 1-0 against Athletic Bilbao through Paco Alcacer when five-time Ballon d'Or winner Messi stepped up to take a set-piece from close to the byline on the right of the penalty area.
The Argentine's low shot was on target but Gorka Iraizoz should have kept it out after getting a hand to the effort, the Athletic goalkeeper's failure to do so handing Messi a club record 27th free-kick goal for Barcelona.

Messi had drawn level with Koeman's mark with another free-kick special against Athletic in the Copa del Rey in January that made it three set-piece goals in three games for the forward, leading the Everton manager to congratulate Messi on social media.
It was a record-breaking day collectively for Barcelona too, as Aleix Vidal added a third to secure the points and score Barcelona's 100th competitive goal of the season so far in the process.

LUKAKU MAKES PREMIER LEAGUE HISTORY WITH HAT-TRICK

LUKAKU MAKES PREMIER LEAGUE HISTORY WITH HAT-TRICK

The Belgium international grabbed four goals at Goodison Park and now leads the Premier League scoring charts ahead of Alexis Sanchez & Diego Costa.
Romelu Lukaku has scored the 300th hat-trick in Premier League history in Everton's match against Bournemouth. Moments after the Belgian had secured his treble, he added a fourth goal to make it 5-2 to the rampant Toffees at Goodison Park. The game also marks the first time Lukaku has scored four in a game in his professional career.
Everton eventually ran out 6-3 winners in a frantic game at Goodison Park with James McCarthy and Ross Barkley also on target for the Toffees.
The win moves Ronald Koeman's men to within just two points of Manchester United in sixth.
Lukaku, meanwhile, now tops the Premier League top scorer charts with 16 goals ahead of Alexis Sanchez and Diego Costa with 15.

Friday, 3 February 2017

Ronaldo named Forbes highest-paid sportsman of 2016 ahead of LeBron James, Messi

Ronaldo named Forbes highest-paid sportsman of 2016 ahead of LeBron James, Messi

Forbes has named Real Madrid superstar, Cristiano Ronaldo, the world’s highest-paid sportsman of 2016 for the first time ever.

The 32-year-old also becomes only the second person from a team sport to make it to the top of the list.

Ronaldo reportedly earned $88million last year, ahead of Barcelona’s Lionel Messi ($81million) and NBA star LeBron James ($77million).

Kurt Badenhausen of Forbes, explains that the Portugal captain has overtaken boxer Floyd Mayweather and golfer Tiger Woods.

“With Mayweather hanging up his gloves and Woods hampered by injuries, there is an opening at the top.

Filling the gap is the biggest star in the biggest sport on the planet,” Badenhausen wrote.

“This year, soccer icon Cristiano Ronaldo is the world’s highest-paid athlete, with earnings of $88m over the past 12 months from salary, bonuses and endorsements.

Ronaldo is only the second team athlete after Michael Jordan to rank as the top-paid since Forbes began tracking athlete earnings in 1990.”

Other footballers who made the top 50 include: Barcelona star Neymar in 21st place ($37.5m), Manchester United’s Zlatan Ibrahimovic at 23 ($37.4m), Madrid’s Gareth Bale at 25 ($35.9m) and Wayne Rooney of United at 49 ($26.1m).